Unshakable Faith

Squeezing my hand, the frail voice whispered, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”  The nurse rolled him further on his side, he groaned, “For you are with me."  His grip tightened around my hand as he gasped, "Your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

I glanced over at the nurse who was packing his wound with gauze. Tears were streaming down her face. “I’m so sorry, almost done.” She looked at me, her eyes filled with despair.

It was the worst decubitus ulcer I had ever seen- a gaping, five inches wide, to the bone, bed sore.  Nursing home neglect had taken its toll and now Tom had been moved to our hospice house to die.

As the nurse kept working, Tom’s jaw tightened, his voice strained. "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life." His voice weakened to a labored whispered, “And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

I don’t know if the morphine finally took effect or if he passed out from the pain, but he fell unconscious. I loosened his hand from mine and looked at the frazzled nurse.  I asked, “Have you ever seen such faith?”

She wiped her wet cheeks. “No, it seems impossible. How does he do it?”  

didn't have the answer then, and I still don’t. His family had abandoned him in a nursing home. He must have felt unwanted. Unloved. Tom never regained consciousness and died a few days later. In spite of his physical pain, emotional suffering and unanswered questions, the last words on his breath,"I shall dwell in the house of my Lord forever."

I wish I knew his life story, how his unshakable faith was forged. How he still felt the love of his Father in spite of pain. Thankfully, I look forward to asking him one day when I see him whole and in perfect health.

As I reflect on the end of his journey, I’m reminded of others who chose praise in their darkest hour. Jonah, Daniel, David, Paul... the list goes on. In fact, I think it's harder to find a Bible hero who didn't praise through his hardship than ones who did. How reassuring to know Tom is now in a circle of these great men of faith.

Makes me think twice next time I grumble about insignificant nuisances and temporal inconveniences. I pray for an unshakable faith so that in spite of circumstances, even during tragedies and crises, I will be able to praise in spite of pain.


  1. You... your words... they make me weep. I am grateful.

    1. Oh no, Tamara, didn't mean to make you weep. Hopefully it was a good cry. :)

    2. It was a good cry. Your work, your words - they touch my heart and soul.

  2. I too have witnessed similar scenes when working as a cardiac nurse. True faith in the midst of pain and suffering is amazing. Thank you for sharing this story as it reminds me to get to work on compiling my stories from my many journals. I think it does inspire others to hear things like this.

    Blessings and love,

  3. Thanks for the story. I'm sure you've seen many of these stories of faith. I guess we'd all like to believe that we'd face death with that kind of faith but we won't know till we're there.

    1. You're exactly right, Bill. None of us know how we will react until we're there.